The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

A wonderful book about friendship and hope – and about life’s difficulties – Marianne Dubuc’s (2014, Enchanted Lion Books) The Lion and the Bird should be on your shelf!  Translated from French, this book reveals an unlikely bond.

Lion heals Bird’s wounds after he falls. After his flock flies away, Bird lives with Lion and forges a deep bond with him.  Lion knows that with the budding sprouts of spring comes the fact that Bird will return to his flock because “sometimes life is like that.” But Lion’s grace and resilience is rewarded when Bird comes to visit again.

This book is about friendship and an unlikely pair learning to care for one another. But I think the biggest strength of this book is its honest look at life. Adults know that sometimes friendships last a few years and sometimes a lifetime, and it is important to help kids know this, too.  Part of the children’s literature course that I teach is helping future teachers understand that children’s literature can help share the realities of childhood (good and bad) and that this is okay. I also want to comment on the stunning illustrations. Dubuc’s graphic design background is not lost. Even the pages on which there are no illustrations make readers reflect.

Here are some teaching ideas for The Lion and the Bird:

(1) Have students create the words (orally or in writing) for the pages on which no words appear. Dubuc’s narrative is somewhat sparse, and having students add to the narrative could inspire meaningful discussion.

(2) I really like that this book is a translated book. Helping kids think about what it means to translate a book is important. Ask students to translate this book back into French with the help of online translators or apps or have students translate this book into their native language. Comparing and contrasting the different ways the story looks and sounds in different languages will be a fascinating language lesson.

I would love to hear what you think of The Lion and the Bird below!

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